Salisbury Press

Tuesday, September 17, 2019
CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY JOHN NELSONConcert version of “19: The Musical,” 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. May 25, Charles A. Brown IceHouse, Bethlehem. Copyright - ©John Nelson CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY JOHN NELSONConcert version of “19: The Musical,” 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. May 25, Charles A. Brown IceHouse, Bethlehem. Copyright - ©John Nelson

Curtain Rises: Bethlehem ‘Suffragette City’ for ‘19: The Musical’

Thursday, May 23, 2019 by Paul Willistein pwillistein@tnonline.com in Focus

Bethlehem becomes “Suffragette City” May 25.

Crowded Kitchen Players presents the Lehigh Valley debut of a concert version of “19: The Musical,” a work in progress with performances planned in 2020 for the 100th anniversary of the women’s right to vote in the United States.

Performances of the 75-minute (with no intermission) “muscal overview of the play” are 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. May 25, Charles A. Brown IceHouse, 56 River St., Sand Island, Bethlehem. The performances are part of the “IceHouse Tonight” series.

The synopsis for “19: The Musical” states that it tells “the dynamic and little-known story of Alice Paul, Ida B. Wells, Susan B. Anthony, Carrie Chapman Catt, Inez Milholland and the suffragists who fought to get women the right to vote.

“The inspirational story of these fearless women is brought to life through jazz, traditional musical standards style, spoken word, hints of gospel and dance.”

The Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the states and the federal government from denying the right to vote to citizens on the basis of sex. The amendment was adopted Aug. 18, 1920, as a culmination of the women’s suffrage movement.

“Our biggest role is in bringing the show here to give an opportunity for the people in this region to learn this story and see this work of art,” says Ara Barlieb, co-founder with Pamela McLean Wallace, of Crowded Kitchen Players.

“19: The Musical,” with its full title, “19: A Musical 100 Years in the Making,” with music by Easton native Charlie Barnett, book and lyrics by Jennifer Schwed and Doug Bradshaw, is produced and directed by Schwed and Bradshow.

The concert version has been presented in the Washington, D.C., area where the some 15 singers and dancers in the show are from. Barnett accompanies on piano.

Says Barlieb of the musical’s creative team, “After seeing the play, ‘Hamilton,’ they were inspired to do something that would have some political value.

“The Women’s March was in January 2017,” Barlieb continues, “and they really wanted to do a story that would honor women through American history.

“They noticed the centennial of the passage of the 19th amendment of the women’s right to vote was coming up in 2020.”

The Bethlehem performances are the 25th and 26th concert performances “in anticpation that they will to the full-length play version of it,” says Barlieb. “This is the first concert performance outside of the D.C. area.”

Crowded Kitchen Players presented the premiere of Barnett’s “Twelveness” in 2017 and Barnett’s “Him and Jim” in 2018, both at the IceHouse.

Tickets: The Charles A. Brown IceHouse box office, Sand Island, 56 River St., Bethlehem; ckplayers.com; 610-395-7176